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Summary: God can do great things in small places and through humble people

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(borrowed and adapted from Bob Russell)

SERIES: “CHRISTMAS CAROL THEOLOGY”

TEXT: MICAH 5:2-5

TITLE: “Something Great from Something Small: O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM”

INTRODUCTION: A. Typical of last minute Christmas shoppers, a mother was running furiously from

store to store. Suddenly she became aware that the pudgy little hand of her three year

old son was no longer clutched in hers. In a panic she retraced her steps and found him

standing with his little nose pressed flatly against a frosty window. He was gazing at a

manger scene.

Hearing his mother’s near hysterical call, he turned and shouted with innocent glee:

"look mommy! it’s Jesus - baby Jesus in the hay". With obvious indifference to his joy

and wonder, she impatiently jerked him away saying, "we don’t have time for that!"

1. Sadly, that’s the attitude of a lot of people at Christmas time

2. They don’t have time for the real meaning of Christmas

3. Instead they’re stressed out about all the wrong things and are distracted from the

right thing

4. Chuck Swindoll writes of a commercial venture by one of the largest department

stores in the nation. It proved to be disastrously unsuccessful. Their idea was a doll

in the form of baby Jesus. It was advertised as being unbreakable, washable and

cuddly. It was packaged in straw with a satin crib and plastic surroundings, and

appropriate biblical texts added here and there to make the scene complete.

It did not sell. The manager of one of the stores panicked. He carried out a last

ditch promotion to get rid of these dolls. He hung a huge sign outside his store that

read: JESUS CHRIST -

MARKED DOWN 50%

GET HIM WHILE YOU CAN!

B. Phillips Brooks was burned out. He was known as the most dynamic and

inspirational preacher of his time, but he had lost his fervor and could not seem to

recover. In his mid twenties he had become pastor of the Holy Trinity Church in

Philadelphia. He recruited a super salesman named Lewis Redner to be his Sunday

School Superintendent and organist. The church exploded in growth. They began with

30 children and within a year there were 1000. The next two years the numbers

increased, partly because of Brooks’ dynamic preaching, partly because of Redner’s

music.

But then the Civil War came and the mood in the church became somber. The

national spirit was dying, women were wearing black due to a husband or son killed in

battle, and darkness fell over every facet of the worship services. Brooks tried to be

inspirational and encourage his church but it was draining him. When the war ended

he thought the vitality and joy would return immediately but it did not.

Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and the pain intensified. Phillips Brooks was not

the President’s pastor, but because he was such a great orator, he was asked to preach

the President’s funeral. He reached down deep and found the appropriate words to say

for the moment but later he was so burned out that he could not rekindle his own

spiritual flame. So he asked the church for a sabbatical and took a trip to the Holy


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